After ‘chains’ remark, Biden’s staff tries to edit press pool reports

Politico
Vice President Joe Biden’s “penchant for off-message moments regularly sends aides in the West Wing and at Chicago reelection headquarters into orbit,” Jonathan Martin writes in Politico, so his staff tries “to save Biden from himself.” On a recent trip to Virginia, “aides tried to edit media pool reports for any potential landmines that could be seized on by Republicans and even hovered at close range to eavesdrop on journalists’ conversations with attendees at Biden rallies.”

Their efforts to manage pool reports is a new tactic in message control:

Because the entire press corps cannot easily jam in, say, a diner or private home, it is standard practice to have a single designated reporter take notes and share the material with colleagues from other news organizations. These reports are designed entirely for the media, but are distributed by White House staffers. In the case of Obama, as with his predecessors, the reports are simply forwarded without comment by email to a news media distribution list.

But on two occasions during Biden’s Virginia trip, his staff sought to have certain elements in the reports highlighted while reporters drafted them and discussed the contents with the reporters after the summaries had been sent but before they had before sent to the broader media.

In mid-July, The New York Times’ Jeremy W. Peters reported on both presidential campaigns’ increasing demands to approve quotes before they are published. Some news outlets don’t play along with such demands, but others do.

After a rally, Martin reports, a press aide “was eavesdropping as a reporter attempted to interview attendees who had spoken with the vice president on the rope line.”

Related: Politico’s Harris: ‘Quote doctoring does bother me’ | Dan Rather: Quote approval is ‘a jaw-dropping turn in journalism’ | What’s the deal with quote approval? | National Journal, McClatchy ban quote approval

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  • Anonymous

    it is almost funny how some people insist on trying to portray “the media” as being some monolithic body intent on covering up the truth. one glaring example: fox news. then there’s 24-hour talk radio which is rife with blatant lies from the political right. indeed, i saw biden’s latest gaffe reported mutiple times on nbc, cnn AND msnbc. no “compliant and corrupt media” there. and that’s just tv. obama’s misstaments also are regularly reported by the so-called “lame-stream media.” the only people who repeatedly argue that “the media” conspires to ignore facts, truth and conservative thought are delusional — or calculating partisans
    the fact is that consrvative spokesmen and commentators do everything they can to demonize the so-called “liberal media” and intimidate them from looking beyond surface statements and uncovering the truth (or at least as close as you can get to it). the sad part is that, all too often, they create so much heat that they succeed.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t you just so clever – bless your heart.

    Please note how I worded my comment, alluding to the widely publicized O’Brien/Sununu interview as she read from hyper-liberal Talking Points Memo blog pages and he called her on it.
    Funny how so many Liberals hobbled by the facts, just chose to deny, ignore or make them up.

  • Anonymous

    I love that thing you said about the bumper sticker on her head! The best part is, you made that up all on your own! I’m so sick of people who just hear stuff and repeat it like a robot without really thinking about it, just because it seems to support their own opinions. Not you, though! You’re an original thinker! Using metaphors and everything!

    And anyway, who really cares about the facts of the situation? Sununu is a manly man who thinks the right way, and Soledad O’Brien is just part of the “liberal media.” Just because she has “facts” at hand that she can cite to refute everything Sununu says, she thinks that makes her so special. Hmph.

  • Anonymous

    It is fair to assume, the compliant & corrupt media will allow Obama campaign to edit or spike Biden gaffes, but the Romney campaign will not see a similar treatment. After all Solidad O’Brien is wearing an Obama bumper sticker on her forehead, why shouldn’t all the media do that. It would at least be honest. LOL

  • Anonymous

    It is fair to assume, the compliant & corrupt media will allow Obama campaign to edit or spike Biden gaffes, but the Romney campaign will not see a similar treatment. After all Solidad O’Brien is wearing an Obama bumper sticker on her forehead, why shouldn’t all the media do that. It would at least be honest. LOL

  • Anonymous

    It is fair to assume, the compliant & corrupt media will allow Obama campaign to edit or spike Biden gaffes, but the Romney campaign will not see a similar treatment. After all Solidad O’Brien is wearing an Obama bumper sticker on her forehead, why shouldn’t all the media do that. It would at least be honest. LOL